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New England Stonington Dragger by FriedClams - FINISHED - 1:48 POB

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Hi Gary


Two words:  “FRIGGING AMAZING!!!!”  Ahem.  I think that just about sums up my reaction to your boat as well as the diorama.


I bet you were one of those kids in the school yard who was good at studies, sports and good looking as well.  Now look at ya; you’re a master modeller as well.


Very, very nice work.







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On 5/22/2019 at 3:49 PM, FriedClams said:

Keith Black and Alexander - Thank you so much for kind comments - I appreciate it.


Thanks for the supportive comments Keith.  Perhaps I may post a compilation of techniques in the forum "Tips & Tricks" once this build is complete,  but I'm not sure how much overall interest there would be in it.  


Thanks, I'm pleased you're enjoying the log and happy to have you looking in.


And thanks to everyone stopping by and hitting the like button.



Pilothouse Interior #2

The navigation and control area on this boat is compact and simple.  Besides the ship’s wheel, there is a compass, throttle/clutch control and a couple of instrument gauges.


I begin with the wheel which is 36” in diameter including handles.  Photos of these boats show both traditional wooden wheels and simpler steel wheels.  I chose to go with steel because in all honesty, it is much easier to make.  It is put together from styrene and brass wire.  The styrene is painted with enamel and the brass is blackened.




 The compass is made from ¼” O.D. brass tube.  A styrene plug was inserted to hold a printed image of a compass rose at a point just below the rim of the compass.  A couple of drops of Gallery Glass are placed on the surface which when dry will provide a clear “lens” for the compass. 


If you’re unfamiliar with Gallery Glass, it is a craft store available product that has a number of modeling uses.  It comes in different colors and dries clear like stained glass.  It doesn’t dry hard like epoxy, but more like hard rubber.  The colors can be mixed and typically leave no air bubbles - but it does shrink and more than one application is often required.  It is non-conductive so you can encapsulate LEDs to insulate the solder joints and produce the color output you want at the same time.  If you repeatedly dip the end of a fiber-optic into white or clear and each time letting it dry in the vertical, you end up with a scale light bulb.


 The two gauges are produced in a similar way by placing a thin slice of 1/8” brass tubing over an image and adding a drop of Gallery Glass to the center.   The Gallery Glass adheres to the paper and brass and all that needs to be done is cut the paper away from around it.


A throttle/clutch control is made up from styrene and brass.


The gauges, compass and throttle are attached to a console top.


 A console bottom is made...


… along with a bolt-on access panel.  The nut/washers are styrene.


Everything is combined and glued into the pilothouse.



Thanks for stopping by.



Wow! Gary, this work is so beautiful. An Incredible mix of distressed wood with crisp instruments. Really inspiring. Thank you!!

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On 5/22/2019 at 8:49 PM, FriedClams said:

The navigation and control area on this boat is compact and simple.  Besides the ship’s wheel, there is a compass, throttle/clutch control and a couple of instrument gauges.



It used to be like this when I started my sailing career, we went everywhere with a compass and a trailing log and never failed to reach our destination. In latter years we had more electronics than I knew what to do with and on one notable occasion found ourselves in fog sailing across a headland (on land) or at least that is what the GPS told us. 

Your wheelhouses is beautifully fashioned and elegantly simple. thank you for the heads up on Gallery Glass - i will store that away for future reference.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎5‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 4:02 PM, druxey said:

Outstanding result using Gallery Glass, Gary! I was not aware of this material or the uses it can be put to.

Hello Druxey.  It’s kind of an obscure product that I stumbled across a few years ago.  I read about a modeler that was using it to add lenses to his portholes.  He would load the side of a toothpick with the liquid and screed it across the round opening.  The material has enough surface tension to bridge the gap.  Thank you for your comments and for stopping by.


On ‎5‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 4:19 PM, vaddoc said:

very impressive and innovative work.


Thank you so much Vaddoc and thanks for taking an interest in my log.



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On ‎5‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 5:16 PM, Jim Lad said:

Very nice wheelhouse fitout, Gary.

Thanks John, I appreciate the comment.


On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 1:22 AM, Omega1234 said:

I bet you were one of those kids in the school yard who was good at studies, sports and good looking as well.

Add to that - charming, witty and irresistibly to women and you have a good start on a list of attributes I have never possessed.  But I appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt.  Thanks for the positive comments Patrick.  I’m glad you stopped by.


On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 10:16 PM, josh44 said:

An Incredible mix of distressed wood with crisp instruments.

Hi Josh  Thanks for the kind words and for stopping in to take a look.  I’m happy you have found something of interest here.


On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 4:38 AM, Keith Black said:

I've got my hand raised and I'm sure I'm not the only one!


On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 7:09 AM, vaddoc said:


Hello Keith and Vaddoc.  Thanks for the vote of confidence on a weathering techniques log.  I think it might be a fun exercise.  But it will be a while before this boat is done and I’m a “one at a time" sort of modeler.  Thanks for your support.


On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 2:07 PM, KeithAug said:

In latter years we had more electronics than I knew what to do with and on one notable occasion found ourselves in fog sailing across a headland (on land) or at least that is what the GPS told us. 

Hi Keith.  Wow – that’s kind of rough on the Gelcoat isn’t it?  I appreciate all technological advancements in the many aspects of our lives, but I think we've become obsessed with it and have grown too dependent on it.  Mostly, I try to live and enjoy life simply.  Thank you for your comments Keith.


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 Pilothouse Interior #3

This update will complete the pilothouse interior.


There will be a separate switch somewhere on the display base to operate an interior cabin light, so I need to provide some interior details.  The question for me is always - how much detail is enough?  The level of detail found in the real world is simply way beyond my ability to recreate.  So instead, I try to suggest detail and depend on the mind’s eye to fill in the rest.


I began with the door, which will be open.


I drew it up along with a bolt pattern for the strap hinges that would typically be attached to the rails on the reverse side of the door.  The door swings inward and up against the wall so the hinges won't be visible and therefore have zero detail.


I first made up some hinges from styrene.  They are scale 4” wide.


The door itself was made up from four strips of wood glued to three rails.  It was then positioned on the backside of the drawing template so I could mark the hinge bolt locations. 


Once the door was colored, I blackened the pinholes that simulate the hinge carriage bolt heads.  This was done by poking a very fine dressmaker’s pin into the tip of permanent marker then placing it into the hole and giving it a little twist.  A pinhead is used for the doorknob.


The hinges look too large to me.  After the exterior siding and door trim are placed, I'll re-evaluate.  If they still look too large I’ll try coloring them to contrast less with the jamb.   


Under the window is a coat rack.  I intend to hang a coat or rain slicker there, but simulating material with the correct texture and drape at this scale is a challenge and needs some rethinking.  So for now, it remains empty.


I made a cabinet with a flat upper drawer for charts and what not.


I installed the cabinet and added a top and a few rolled up charts.  Also shown here is a fold down seat for the skipper and a vertical grab iron between the windows.


This model will be displayed as a vessel under repair.  And repair work requires repair parts, which often come in corrugated boxes.  So I’m going to place a couple of them under the coat rack.  I’ve played around with different ways to model small boxes before and always come back to the most simple - folded paper.


So I start with a drawing of an unfolded box complete with printing. 


The most difficult part of this process is getting the color right.  Using gauche in a very watery mix of yellow ochre, burnt sienna and grey produced an acceptable result.  Any color medium that doesn’t bleed the lettering will work.


I then cut the "boxes" from the paper and folded them up.  But simply folding and stacking them produced disappointing results.  They looked like what they were - little pieces of folded paper pretending to be boxes.  They need to look like they have weight.  So I modeled the larger box to look as though it had been wet at one point and the smaller box was thrown on top. 


The cut out in the floor provides access to the engine room, galley and berths.  There is a ladder/stair that descends down, but only the top tread is visible from any cabin opening - so that is where the modeling stops.


That completes the interior and I’m glad to be getting out of such cramped quarters.



Thanks for taking a look.




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On 4/28/2019 at 12:08 PM, FriedClams said:



 This post is unrelated to my Stonington dragger build and is just something I wanted to share.  I hope this isn’t bending forum rules too far.



I’m in the process of building a series of small shadow box dioramas in 1:87 scale.  Each diorama is 2.25” x 4.75” with a maximum depth of 2.5”.  The exterior dimensions of the shadow box is 8” x 5.25” x 3” deep.  It is made from poplar and assembled with biscuits.  This is the second diorama I’ve completed and depicts the interior of a small fictitious boat building shop.  It is completely scratch built with the exception of the following items:



The brick wall material is from New England Brownstone Co. in Massachusetts.  It is made in white Hyrocal slabs that you cut and color as needed.



The window frames, truss rod queen posts, turnbuckles and the 55 gallon drum are unpainted injection molded styrene from Tichy Train Group in North Carolina.



And the two human figures are from Preiser in Germany.



I apologize for the quality of these images as they were shot through the glass using a polarizer and only diorama LEDs for lighting.


The exterior photographs visible through the windows were scaled and affixed to the inside of a PVC pipe that was split lengthwise creating a concave image plane.  This means there is no upper or lower edge of the photo that can be observed.  And because the photo sits back away from the window, the image shifts as the observer moves and their visual perspective changes.


I installed two pushbuttons into the bottom of the case that control interior and “exterior” LED lighting.  Being able to control them separately allows for day/night display scenarios and changes the mood - much more than I expected.  Compare the “nighttime” shot below to the “daytime” (with interior lights on) shot above.


And then exterior lights only.


Interior lights only.


Exterior lights only.



And a couple of other shots.





Thanks for taking a look – now back to the fishing dragger.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you John, Keith, Druxey, G.L., Maury, Valeriy and johnp76 for your kind comments.  I really appreciate it.


And thanks to all for stopping by and hitting the like button.


On 6/7/2019 at 7:12 PM, druxey said:

Try painting Silkspan and draping it for a coat or slicker.

That's a good suggestion Druxey, I'm going to give it a try. Thanks.



Pilothouse Roof #1


One of the first decisions I made in modeling this boat was the time period in which it was built.  I chose the 1920’s to early 1930's for a couple of reasons.


First, it was during this time period that these Western-rig boats were developed and came into wide spread use in southern New England.  The inshore fishery was abundant and fish landings were strong.  So there's an element of historical nostalgia to it.


Second, the era predates exterior plywood.  Manufacturing of plywood as we know it today dates back to 1905, but waterproof adhesives wouldn’t be developed until 1934.  So wooden boats were still being stick built with solid wood.  And I prefer the detail and visual interest of individual boards to sheet goods.


Images of boats from the 1950’s and 60's show mostly pilothouses with simply constructed flat roofs.  This is possible due to the extraordinary strength and durability of marine grade plywood combined with epoxy coatings.  In contrast, the drawing below shows how earlier cabin roofs were constructed.


The curvature of the rafters gave the roof strength of the arch, water shedding and esthetics.  Waterproofing was typically achieved through a covering of canvas/pitch or a rubber membrane.  The 1 x 1 strips secured the edges of the covering.  


I began by making the eleven arched rafters.


By creating a circle in CAD that describes the arch, I was able to bend material for all the rafters at one time.  I cut the individual segments and positioned them on a template drawing.  These rafters are placed on one foot centers which seems a bit of an overkill, but as a mechanical engineering friend of mine would say "when in doubt - make it stout.”



I then planked the top and added the fascia.


I’m going to simulate a rubber membrane roof covering.  I did not sand or level the roof surface because I want the individual boards to show through the “rubber.”  The surface was painted black and tissue paper will be used for the covering.


A thinned down PVA mixed with charcoal colored acrylic paint was liberally applied to the roof.  The tissue paper (gift wrapping type) was applied to the wet roof and then more of the same PVA mix applied to the tissue.  I jabbed at the tissue with a stiff paintbrush to create the wrinkling effect.


Edge trim was added and white pigment powder scrubbed in around the perimeter.


Roof scuppers were added to the aft corners.


Next post will be navigation and search lights.  Thanks for stopping by.




Edited by FriedClams
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On 6/7/2019 at 7:12 PM, druxey said:

Try painting Silkspan and draping it for a coat or slicker.

I was also going to suggest paper. It can be moistened for easier forming and then allowed to dry. You can then paint it and coat it with varnish, perhaps a satin or semi-gloss finish to get the rubberized look.

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On 6/24/2019 at 9:31 AM, ESF said:

A wonderful master class for those of us still in the early stages of ship building.  The first few photos of the diorama looked for all the world like the real thing.  I kept looking for a diorama within the diorama.  Thank you for sharing and explaining.



Hi Gary


Steve’s absolutely right. A nice Masterclass to inspire and help people like myself to learn and improve. 


All the best!



Edited by Omega1234
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Thank you so much Druxey, Chris, Steve, Patrick, John, Keith and Moab.  I truly appreciate your support, interest and generous comments.


And as always, thanks to everyone stopping by and hitting the like button.



More Pilothouse Roof Stuff


Unfinished from a previous post is a rain slicker that I wanted to hang on the pilothouse coat rack.  I received some great suggestions from Druxey and Chris on possible approaches, but I just couldn’t get it right.  I ended up using polymer and even though I’m not thrilled with it, I’m going to surrender and call it done.  At just over ½” tall, this is the result.


The navigation lights are made of styrene and approximately 1/4" tall.  I begin with the basic size and proportion requirements.


From this I select the four different shapes and sizes of styrene that will be needed – 2 tubes, a rod and some flat stock.


The rod and tubes that were selected are roughly the correct sizes and closely fit into one another.  This defines the top of the housing.


A window is cut from the largest tube and the flat stock is used for banding.


The interiors are painted red and green and colored 0603 SMD LED's are soldered up and inserted.  Clear Gallery Glass is used to hold them in place and simulate the lenses.


Directional light blocking boxes (I don’t know the proper term for these) are made up, painted and weathered.  The NAV lights are glued in.


The searchlight is made up of styrene and brass.  The bullet shaped housing is formed of .01" styrene.  The tip of an ordinary construction nail was filed and polished to the desired shape.  It was then heated and the styrene formed over it.  A white 0603 SMD LED is inserted.  It is painted with enamel and weathered with acrylic.  A water based weathering is used so as not to effect the underlying enamel.  


An air horn is made up which scales to about 18” in length.  It too is made of styrene.  The cone of the horn was made of a tube that was a larger diameter than required.  The tube was heated in the middle and pulled to form the cone shape.





A pair of 1411 LEDS is placed up between the roof rafters for general interior illumination.


Everything glued onto the roof.



 There will also be a pair of brackets attached to the roof for holding a dory.  But I’m holding off on that until the dory is made.


Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.



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They are sometimes called back boards - I am sure there is a technical term

For authenticity the light back boards should conform to the standards with the vertical surfaces on the light's side of the assembly normally painted red and green as applicable to offer better visibility.  The other surfaces can be whatever the other colors nearby are (in your case black is fine) except the red and green can not show except on the surfaces lit by the lights.


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Looks good, Gary!  The highly technical term for your sidelight blocking boxes (at least on British ships), is 'screens'. :)


By the way, check your scale measurements just to make sure they're OK (they look it) - they should project at least three feet forward from the lights.  As for the colour, it depends on what period you're modelling.  The current trend is to paint sidelight screens black; they used to be red and green as per the colour of the lights.



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Thank you Alexander.


Hello Kurt and John


Thank you both for your comments and for sharing your knowledge on the “back boards/screens”.


I was conflicted about the color of these light boxes because I have seen photos showing both black and colored.  I reasoned that the differences are due to country, local region and as John stated, the time period.  So I focused exclusively on New England boats pre 1960.  Virtually all photos of these boats prior to 1960 are in black and white so color images of these boats depict a more recent time.  Here are a couple of older images that support Kurt’s statement.



But then, here are a few that show black boxes.




This photo from the 1970s shows two boats with black boxes.


But I've decided to re-paint the interior of mine red/green because of this photo of the Florence below.  It is a restored exhibit at the Mystic Seaport Museum of a 1926 Connecticut built Western Rig dragger.  I have never seen light boxes mounted this way, but they are indeed red and green.  So I have to believe colored light boxes are correct for this region and time period.  It does surprise me that they painted color on the outside.


John, I got the dimensions for the light boxes from a drawing of a 1941 New England sardine carrier.  The distance from the forward edge of the light to the forward edge of the box is 33” -  so that's close enough for me.  


Thanks again.



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